Dogs and Puppies
As soon as you’ve acquired your puppy or dog then it’s best to ring us to book your pet for a health check. Bring any paperwork that you have so that we can check the status of your dog’s vaccinations, deworming, flea/tick control, pet insurance and microchipping. Puppies need their first vaccination at 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by their second vaccination at 10 weeks old. They are fully protected at 11 weeks old and ready to go outside onto the streets and parks.
All dogs older than this that have not been vaccinated will need a course of 2 vaccinations - 4 weeks apart - and then they are able to go outside immediately.
Vaccinations are against the 4 killer diseases that we see...
- Distemper - a viral disease that causes nerve/brain disease and fits.
- Parvovirus - causing acute vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Hepatitis - a virus that causes acute liver disease and liver failure.
- Leptospirosis - a bacterial disease that affects both the liver and kidneys.
You can also choose to have your dog vaccinated against Kennel Cough and Rabies.
- Rabies is a viral infection that is fatal to dogs and vaccination is essential for dogs travelling out of the UK.
- Kennel Cough is a bacterial infection that causes a nasty, hacking cough. This is a nasty disease that will make your dog ill but won’t kill them like the other infections. It’s often a requirement if you plan to leave your dog in kennels whilst you are away on holiday.
Flea and tick control is very important. We recommend one of the following - a spot-on treatment applied every month or a 3 monthly tablet or a 6 monthly collar. There are lots of products available through supermarkets and pet shops but the most effective treatments are only available through a veterinary practice.
The same is also true for deworming control - we have tablets that will kill ALL the tapeworms, lungworms, roundworms, whipworms that affect puppies and dogs. We recommend that your puppy is dewormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks old and then 3 or 4 times each year.
Microchipping your dog or puppy is important. A microchip the size of a grain of rice is injected into the dog’s scruff, simply and painlessly. The chip has a unique 15 digit number that correlates with your contact details.
Pet Health Insurance is something that you should definitely consider. There are lots on the market but if you give us a call we will advise about the best plans to suit you and your pet. What’s more we can offer you a FREE 4 weeks of Pet Insurance when your puppy attends for their vaccinations.
It sounds obvious but before you choose a dog or a puppy think about how much time you have to exercise them. The amount of exercise that your dog requires will vary according to the dog’s age and breed. Toy breeds like Chihuahuas or Pomeranians need a lot less exercise than working dogs. Be prepared for plenty of exercise if you choose something like a Springer Spaniel or a Border Collie!
The amount of food your dog will need will vary according to the size and activity level of your dog. We think that the dry complete food is best. The food changes as your dog develops, and he’ll do best if you start him off with a puppy diet then progress to young adult then mature adult diets. That way he’ll get just the right nutrients to suit his age.
Please note that large breed puppies like Labradors and German Shepherds have slower growth rates compared to smaller breeds. It is vital to feed a Large Breed Growth diet to larger breed puppies.
If you pop into the clinic we can help you choose the right food for your puppy or older dog.
Puppies, like people, respond to your positive encouragement! Puppies will generally want to toilet after exercise, feeding or sleep. If you think that they may need to toilet, scoop them up, go outside and stay with them for a few minutes. Giving rewards for success will pay dividends. Lots of praise/attention, stroking and a maybe a food treat will tell the puppy that a reward is made for toileting correctly and will encourage him.
Ask us for details about obedience and puppy/dog training/agility classes that are locally available. These classes can be fun and can be enormous help.
Whatever pet that you have, you must consider the awkward topic of the birth control and breeding, most especially if you have a female pet.
A bitch will normally have their first season between 5 and 9 months of age 9 (unless you have a giant breed where the first season is usually much later). It is important that we discuss the options as soon as you bring your puppy in for her very first check up to avoid any unexpected surprises! Unless you plan to allow your bitch to have a litter of pups then we would recommend surgical neutering before their first season.
If you would like your bitch to have a litter at some point in the future but aren’t quite ready yet we can avoid an awkward 3 weeks twice each year by giving her a hormone injection every 6 months to supress the seasons. When you want her to breed then just ignore our reminder and she’ll come into season!
We can also neuter a male dog, although we only usually perform this procedure for behavioural reasons. Unpleasant habits or difficult to manage behaviour can include roaming, barking, aggression, weeing in the house and excessive sexual activities. Castrating a male dog will reduce and resolve these problems.
If you want to breed from your dog we can advise you on that too and make sure your dog is in good health before she becomes pregnant. Her season will usually last for about 3 weeks and she will be pregnant for about 9 weeks. Litter size will vary but small breeds usually have between 2 and 4 pups and large breeds between 8 and 12 pups. Usually a bitch will manage to give birth naturally but if you are at all worried give us a call. If necessary we can perform a caesarean section.
Once the puppies are born be prepared for a lot of fun. Puppies eyes open at about 2 weeks and weaning is from 5/6 weeks. Call us for advice if you’re worried about mum or any puppies are failing to thrive.
If your bitch is accidently mis-mated, then we can inject her with a series of two hormone injections given on subsequent days a few days after the mis-mate to prevent the pregnancy.